Here is the important part of MarÃa Isabel Rueda’s interview with Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos in tomorrow’s edition of Semana magazine. Here, Santos says that paramount FARC leader “Manuel Marulanda VÃ©lez” (alias “Tirofijo,” or “Sureshot”) died in late March.
Is it true? Your guess is as good as mine.
MarÃa Isabel Rueda: And where is “Tirofijo“?
Juan Manuel Santos: He must be in hell.
M.I.R.: In which hell?
J.M.S: The one where dead criminals go.
M.I.R.: Where “Tirofijo” is going…
J.M.S.: The information we have is that he is already gone.
M.I.R.: What do you mean, “Tirofijo” died?
J.M.S.: That’s what a source who has never failed us tells us.
M.I.R.: “Tirofijo” is dead?
J.M.S.: That is the latest information we have and that we are corroborating.
M.I.R.: Can I title this interview, “‘Tirofijo’ is dead”?
J.M.S.: The risk is yours.
M.I.R.: And when did he die?
J.M.S.: The intelligence tells us that it was March 26th of this year.
M.I.R.: And how did he die?
J.M.S.: We don’t know. During those dates there were three strong bombardments where “Tirofijo” was thought to have been. The guerrillas say it was a heart attack. We have no proof for the one or the other.
M.I.R.: And what other information do you have about his death?
J.M.S.: So far we only have those data.
M.I.R.: And do you know who is going to replace him?
J.M.S.: Everything indicates that it is Alfonso Cano [FARC secretariat member, head of the group's Western Bloc, a one-time college professor believed to be the guerrillas' chief ideologue].